When contacted by The Indian Express, Dr Om Prakash Upadhyay said:
“The [Banaras Hindu] University had taken legal opinion in my matter and it was decided that the decision of a [Fiji] court abroad does not hold good in our country [India]. Hence, I was interviewed and selected by selection committee. I was on study leave (in Fiji), it was a case of extortion and because I resisted it, I was falsely accused."
One of the EC members objected, saying Upadhyay had been convicted of sexual harassment by a Fiji court. Full story later on (below) -
The Indian Express, 28 September 2017
During his trial in the Nasinu Magistrates Court in January 2013, for indecent assault, Professor Om Prakash Upadhyay told the court he was a professor from Banaras Hindu University and was advisor to the Vice Chancellor [Dr Ganesh Chand] of Fiji National University. He was working on developing medical facilities, staff and studies. He got offer on 1 January 2011 and it was a three year contract. He denied indecently assaulting one Cynthia Ria Khan, then a student at USP and living in an adjacent flat to Upadhyay in Nadera, on 25 August 2012. But the Nasinu Magistrates Court found him guilty as charged. On 4 July 2013 he was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment, and suspended the same for three years. In addition, he was ordered to pay $500 to Ms Khan as compensation, and was fined, in default, he was to spend 200 days in prison. He appealed to the Fiji High Court which dismissed his appeal on 12 June 2014, noting the sentence was not harsh and excessive. We had exposed scores of sexual harassment cases involving students at USP, University of Fiji and the Fiji National University but shockingly the Vice-Chancellors of these universities closed ranks in collusion with Education Minister Mahendra Reddy who was himself subject of alleged sex scandals. The most recent case of cover-up is the case of Dr James Johnson, the former psychology professor who was fired from the University of North Carolina for inappropriately touching or making comments of sexual nature to his students during one to one meetings in his office. We maintain Johnson had NOT disclosed his past. He only responded when an anonymous e-mailer tipped USP Appointing Committee of his dismissal. Even then, he only provided a report from the Hearing Committee and not the DISMISSAL letter which catalogued a frightening number of incidents which the Chancellor of UNCW felt warranted his booting out of UNCW. Like Johnson's case, the incident involving Ms Khan occurred in Upadhyay's flat in the presence of Upadhyay and Ms Khan. As Justice Salesi temo, while dismissing the appeal noted, "No one was there to witness the event. In the final analysis, the case boils down to the word of the complainant, as against the accused." Both the Nasinu Magistrates Court and the Fiji High Court believed Ms Khan's evidence and convicted Upadhyay. In fact, his case was one of a series of sexual harassment cases we had revealed, without identifying him as the individual. But like other Vice-Chancellors, instead of protecting the vulnerable students, FNU, Ganesh Chand and Mahendra Reddy blocked Fijileaks from being read by the students and staff, and recently FFP Government Whip Ashneel Sudhakar was accused of HACKING Fijileaks after we had intimated that we were planning to run a story about his alleged sexual dalliance with a FFP supporter's wife:
When contacted by The Indian Express, Upadhyay said:
“The university had taken legal opinion in my matter and it was decided that the decision of a court abroad does not hold good in our country [India]. Hence, I was interviewed and selected by selection committee. I was on study leave (in Fiji), it was a case of extortion and because I resisted it, I was falsely accused."
Among the faculty appointments that Banaras Hindu University Vice-Chancellor G C Tripathi tried to push through at a meeting of its Executive Council Tuesday was the regularisation of Dr O P Upadhyay’s appointment as Medical Superintendent of the Sir Sunderlal Hospital on the university campus.
One of the EC members objected, saying Upadhyay had been convicted of sexual harassment by a Fiji court.
The order, accessed by The Indian Express, records what a 21-year-old Fiji woman, who brought the charge against Upadhyay, said in her testimony before a magistrate at Nasinu in January 2013: “He (Upadhyay) held my hand and insisted I should see the house. When we reached his room, he said I should come and sleep in his room. It was in Indian Hindi. He held my shoulder… rubbed my thighs… and kissed my cheek again.”
This incident took place on August 25, 2012, months after Upadhyay moved to Fiji on deputation as Advisor to the Vice-Chancellor of Fiji National University (FNU).
The Nasinu magistrates court convicted Upadhyay of “indecent assault”. His counsel appealed in 2014 but the High Court of Fiji upheld the conviction order.
While holding Upadhyay guilty, the Nasinu magistrates court, in its order, said: “In this case, the accused first kissed her cheek. The victim thought that was a welcome kiss. The accused held her shoulder. Then accused invited to see his house, when they were walking the accused informed she can sleep with him in his house. Thereafter, the accused touched her breast and thighs. Touching the breast and thighs of an unknown firstly seen woman on that day clearly indicates indecent intention. This constitutes the indecent assault… When I evaluate the evidence, I have no doubt in my mind that the prosecution proved its charge beyond reasonable doubt.”
Contacted by The Indian Express Tuesday night, Upadhyay said: “The university (BHU) had taken legal opinion in my matter and it was decided that the decision of a court abroad does not hold good in our country. Hence, I was interviewed and selected by the selection committee. I was on study leave (in Fiji). It was a case of extortion and because I resisted, I was falsely accused.”
The Indian Express emailed a questionnaire to the Director of Prosecution in Fiji but there was no response until Wednesday night.
According to official records, Upadhyay filed an appeal through his counsel before the High Court of Fiji at Suva. In his appeal, he challenged the magistrate’s order and argued that the “sentence against the appellant is harsh and excessive in all circumstances of the case”. The hearing before the High Court took place on March 24, 2014 and the judgment was announced June 12, 2014.
In the order, the High Court judge said: “I have carefully read the court record and learned magistrate sentencing remarks. In my view, he applied the correct law and procedure. He identified the correct tariff of 1 to 4 years imprisonment for indecent assault. He identified the aggravating and mitigating factors. He started with 18 months imprisonment. In my view, the sentence was not harsh and excessive, and I accordingly dismiss this ground.”
After he returned to India, Upadhyay was handed charge as Medical Superintendent of Sir Sunderlal Hospital in April 2016. According to orders issued by the Registrar of BHU, Upadhyay was given additional charge since he was the most senior chief medical officer at the university.
"Johnson tells WECT [TV in North Carolina] he is happy and thriving at his new job as the Head of School of Social Sciences at USP, and they have been especially supportive of him. He says that the [USP] administration there fully vetted him and reviewed the UNCW Faculty Hearing Committee's findings regarding the allegations against him. They agreed that UNCW did not have sufficient evidence for his termination."
WECT TV update, Tuesday 26 September 2017
* So far neither Johnson nor Vice-Chancellor Rajesh Chandra have communicated with Fijileaks; instead Johnson contacted WECT TV in North Carolina protesting his innocence, claiming he was treated unfairly and that racial bias [he is African-American] could have played in his dismissal;
* Johnson had appealed his dismissal to the University of North Carolina Board of Governors to no avail;
* While blocking Fijileaks e-mails Johnson, however, provided documents from a 2012 UNCW Faculty Hearing Committee to WECT regarding the charges against him;
* They show that committee was not convinced Johnson inappropriately touched students, although they all agreed he had inappropriate communication with students;
* They did not feel the university had grounds to terminate Johnson, and instead recommended a one semester suspension without pay, along with counseling
(Fijileaks: Why recommend that a psychology professor should be suspended for one semester WITHOUT PAY and be sent for COUNSELING if he was not guilty of any wrong-doing? COUNSELING for what: inappropriate sexual deviancy involving female students? Did the Committee feel that Johnson, to use psychology phraseology, was a clinically recognized patient, suffering from some sort of disorders of sexual or paraphiliac nature who needed counseling? He was already suspended before, in 2005. Among research interests he listed on his UNCW Psychology Department website: Factors affecting perceptions of sexual aggression;
* However, the then Chancellor Gary Miller did not accept the committee's recommendation, and instead followed the Provost’s suggestion that Johnson be fired as psychology professor from UNCW Fijileaks: Did Johnson provide to USP selection committee Chancellor Miller's dismissal letter, along with the 2012 Faculty Hearing Committee documents? For Chancellor Miller's letter is very exhaustive and catalogues a series of sexual improprieties that was levelled against Johnson but most crucially, Chancellor Miller argued the psychology professor was already on notice when he [Johnson] was suspended for 30 days and given a final letter in 2005 for allegedly touching another female student inappropriately. Even though the UNCW Committee felt otherwise, the Chancellor, Provost, and the Board of Governors fired Johnson. Surely, they can't be accused of RACISM. Their overriding concern was the safety of female students.
He was on their radar since 2005 when he was suspended and warned to keep his "hands to himself"
Sexual harassment and Vice-Chancellors burying their heads in their pants, from Fijileaks Archives:
In some cases the Bainimarama/Khaiyum regime turned a blind eye to the victims, for the perpetrators were close relatives and friends of the former FNU VC Ganesh Chand, the regime's 'Golden Boy'!
Meanwhile, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of the South Pacific RAJESH CHANDRA is yet to respond to Fijileaks revelations about the Head of School and psychology professor James Johnson's past; he was fired from the University of North Carolina in Wilimington. Johnson did not disclose to the USP Appointing Committee the Dismissal Letter of 18 May 2012 from Chancellor Gary Miller. In fact, he had NOT DISCLOSED his past and his dismissal until someone tipped USP. Coincidentally, both Upadhyay and Johnson were accused of sexual improprieties and were dealt with between 2011 and 2014
Fijileaks to Rajesh Chandra:
In firing Johnson from his job, the then UNCW Chancellor Gary Miller (above photo) outlined the following alleged incidents the female students had made against Johnson, and ruled as follows:
From my review of the record, I find that the University has proven by clear and convincing evidence, that during several meetings in your office throughout the spring semester:
* You inappropriately hugged, touched and/or communicated unwelcome advances toward________, one of your current students, by placing your hands on her lower back and/or buttocks;
* I [Chancellor] also find that the University [UNCW] has proven by clear and convincing evidence that you inappropriately touched and stroked____'s hair while calling her 'pretty'. Such behaviour constitutes misconduct and the mistreatment of a student pursuant to the Code;
* That during several one-on-one meetings in your office in the summer of 2011, you hugged another undergraduate student_______and placed your hands on her lower back and/or buttocks. Such advances were both unwelcome and inappropriate;
* I also find by clear and convincing evidence that the University proved you touched______'s thighs/legs while seated next to her during your one on-one meetings with her and you further made inappropriate comments to________stating, "I've never seen someone look so good in jeans" - or words to that effect.
* These behaviors and comments are misconduct under the Code and further constitute mistreatment of a student
An attempt by Banaras Hindu University vice chancellor GC Tripathi to secure a permanent tenure for Dr OP Upadhyay, the medical superintendent of Sir Sunderlal Hospital, created a stir as the university had last week witnessed student unrest over alleged sexual harassment of a hosteller.
At a meeting of the executive council on September 26 Tripathi proposed that Upadhyay, serving as the ad hoc medical superintendent, be regularised.
But an executive council member objected, saying Upadhyay had sexually harassed a 21-year-old woman when he was an adviser to the Fiji National University vice chancellor.
Tripathi, who is under immense pressure over his mishandling of the student protest and police crackdown that left a number of protesters, mostly women, injured, came under fire for overlooking the charges against Upadhyay.
Speaking to Hindustan Times on Wednesday, Upadhyay said, “In September 2012, allegation of sexual harassment was labelled against me by a 21-year-old girl as she wanted money and I denied complying with her demand.”
He said he was tried by a Fiji court.
“The court indicted me and said my conduct and behaviour would be observed for three years and assessed,” he said. The court said if his behaviour was found to be good and no such incident was repeated, “charges will be absolved,” Upadhyay claimed.
The university said he could continue working but due to some family problem he returned to India in August 2013, he said.
The Indian Express, however, had a different version. In a report on Thursday, the newspaper said the Nasinu magistrate’s court convicted Upadhyay of “indecent assault”. His counsel challenged the order in 2014 but the high court of Fiji upheld the conviction.
Upadhyay said he had worked hard to improve facilities and had ensures that medicines were made available at the hospital, which had angered the drug lobby that blowing the issue out of proportion.
The executive council member who raised objection was once removed for misappropriation of funds, he alleged.
Upadhyay then went on to say Indian law says an indictment in foreign land won’t have a bearing on a person’s career unless it affected diplomatic relations.